Friday, August 23, 2013

What's For Dinner?


One of my readers, Dee, a fellow Vancouver Islander, was kind enough to send me an email asking suggestions on saving money on groceries for a family of seven.  She currently spends $550 every two weeks.  Based on family size I don't think that that is outrageous but it got me thinking that if one could reduce the cost of large family meals on a regular basis that cost really could come down a bit.



One of the top read posts on my blog was:

How to Reduce Your Grocery Bill

If for any reason you haven't read it you should - please ensure to read the  comments left by readers as well for even more money saving ideas.

I started thinking about my favorite large family gathering meals of the past and hope readers feel free to contribute their favorite large family meals (including recipes if you want) in the comments.

We do have a big family when we get together as I have four stepkids making us a family of six.  When we gather as a group we usually have one or both of our Mothers present making it eight.  Some of the best family meals we have are:

1.  Homemade chili and cheese toast.  Chili is relatively inexpensive to make and appreciated by all.

2.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, corn (usually use frozen), homemade stuffing and gravy.  I do not make my gravy from scratch as it never tastes that good.  I use the little packets you buy from the store and add water.  These usually go on sale at Christmas and Thanksgiving for around 75 cents each so I buy a whole bunch.   We don't necessarily reserve turkey meals for holidays as I buy grade B Turkey that can usually be found for less than .99 cents per pound.  I always have one in the freezer on backup and they can last up to a year in the freezer.

3.  Homemade spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, and salad.  We throw lots of veggies in our sauce like peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery, and even sometimes corn depending on what is wilty in the fridge/freezer.

4.  Roasted chicken legs, a side (can be rice/pasta/potatoes) and salad

5.  Crock Pot Stew served with homemade biscuits or store bought buns depending on time/energy.

Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic are cheap, and present at almost every meal we eat so a mandatory staple at our house.  Due to the high usage of these items I tend to buy in large quantity as most of these can be stored in cooler temperatures for months.  Chicken legs are one of the cheapest meat item I can buy so when I find a deal I stock up.  We are still eating chicken legs from a great deal several months ago.

So, readers, what is your favorite go to large family meal?  Please share.


20 comments:

  1. Chicken legs are great for making a big pot of arroz con pollo! Add corn, garlic, cilantro, peas, onion and peppers to rice after you braise the chicken legs...you can get pretty fancy with this dish or go simple. At our house it's always a crowd pleaser!

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    1. That sounds yummy and we love cilantro - you bet I will be making this! Thanks for the idea!

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  2. If it's a kid-heavy dinner, I fill a cookie sheet up with chicken patties covered with mozarella cheese and make easy chicken parm. That is a kid pleasing meal for sure!

    We do a lot of pasta salad. You can combine that with chicken legs on the grill.

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    1. That sounds tasty! Our kids loved burgers, but hubby and I gave up bread in June, although we have cheated a couple times when eating out (no bread in the house though). I think I should make chicken parm one of these days, never made it, would be a nice change.

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  3. Stir fry veggies(cabbage, carrots, onion, green pepper ..etc.) with a small amount of meat (chicken/steak/pork) served over rice.

    Minced meat (hamburger) browned up in a large skillet .. make a gravy with it and serve over mashed potatoes. Serve with a green salad.

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    1. We do tons of stir frys mostly chicken and pork, sometimes with a few shrimp. Rice is so cheap when you buy in large quantity and now I have finally mastered cooking regular rice without having it stick or burn. Cheers!

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  4. Aaaand my mouth's watering now after reading this post. You're right, chilis and veggie soups can be so filling and so cheap. Bulk foods are excellent on a budget too, like lentils, dried, beans, pastas, and brown rice. You can add frozen veggies for extra nutrition. I'm raw vegan now so I buy my produce in bulk via the vegan kitchen I work with one day a week at vendors that sell fruits and vegetables at local flea markets.

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    1. I bought dried beans for the first time now and cook with them on a regular basis. I bought some sprout seeds yesterday and hope to try and sprout them this week. Cheers!

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  5. One of our bug money savers is to eat far less meat. We have meat about 2-3 times per week. The rest of the week, we eat a lot of dried beans, lentils and split peas. I make "neatballs", which are made from beans, but sub for meatballs in tomato sauce over pasta or polenta, or in "neatball" sandwiches. I make sloppy joes, but with cooked lentils instead of beef, and tonight we had bean burritos.

    We round out our meals with produce from the garden. To give you an example of how a meal might look, with tonight's bean burritos (with cheese for those who can eat cheese in our family), we had a garden salad, some zucchini sticks and from-scratch ranch dip, roasted summer squash with herbs and shallots, and a multi-fruit tart. All the produce and herbs in tonight's dinner came from our garden.

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    1. We are trying to eat less meat but hubby has a hard time with that :) I sneak in the meat free meals without him knowing sometimes.

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  6. Love crockpot stews. Easy and cheap to make. Can't wait til it's a bit colder outside to make them again.

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    1. Crockpot seems to be the reader favorite - I agree!

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  7. Crockpot stew is one of my all time favorites. It won't be too long before we can break it out & start crockpotting. I love walking into the house and having it smell like stew or turkey. Both work!!!

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    1. I completely agree - I love it when the house is full of good food smells. I make applesauce in the fall in the crockpot too when free apples are plentiful - that sure makes your house smell great.

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    1. That sounds good - will have to get the recipe from you!

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  9. Remember to use up all of your leftovers. A small piece of leftover steak or chicken can make a great fried rice for your meal the next night. We take our leftovers for lunch to work the next day.
    Tonight I did a roast chicken, stripped the carcass and froze it to make soup. The leftover meat is great in wraps or sandwiches or for a pot pie for another meal. Three meals out of one chicken (for two people).

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    1. This year we started making sure our food waste was low - we have saved so much money that way. Hubby working from home sure helps, no temptation to eat out at lunch and he hoovers up anything that doesn't run in the fridge.

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  10. Replies
    1. I especially love using the crockpot in winter. So easy and so little cleanup! They use less electricity too!

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